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What is a Drought?



I am researching our national drought crisis and it seems there are several
ways of defining what is a drought but not one set of national criteria.

NOAA's National Weather Service incorporates a Palmer Index for rating but
admits its limitations allow for states to redefine their drought status
(ie.Florida is listed as a DO drought status by the Palmer Index but the
Fla. state meterologist and water managment districts claim they are not in
a drought based on precipitation).

Even if a state has experienced prior back to back years of drought and
their groundwater and surface water are at historic low levels, government
officials still claim they are not in a drought because the stresses on
shrinking water supplies are from population growth demand and not lack of
precipitation.

And there is not a lead Federal Agency for the national drought crisis.

Can you folks tell me if your state is in a drought and why or why not if
the National Weather Service and National Drought Monitor says you are?

And what are the political reasons why a state wouldn't want a nationally
defined drought status with access to federal emergency financial
assistance?

Cheers,
Donald Sutherland
Member of the Society of Environmental Journalists
donaldsutherland-iso14000@worldnet.att.net
phone: 508-497-3676

References:
The National Drought Mitigation Center
http://enso.unl.edu/ndmc/index.html

Drought Impacts
http://drought.unl.edu/impacts/us/usimpact.htm#florida

National Drought Mitigation Center
Map
http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html

NOAA's drought information center
http://www.drought.noaa.gov

THE PALMER DROUGHT SEVERITY INDEX
http://www.drought.noaa.gov/palmer.html

US Drought Monitor
http://enso.unl.edu/monitor/monitor.html

National Weather Service
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/

NWS Southern Region
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mlb/enso/mlbnino.html

Drought Definition
http://droughtoutlook.com/drought.html

Drought Outlook
http://www.droughtoutlook.com/links.html